Very disappointed with Greene & Co in their handling of this transaction - and will not use again.
I was a prospective buyer who viewed a property in Marlborough House (off Finchley Road), a new office conversion, and had a bid accepted. On Greene\'s recommendation, I put down a 2k reservation deposit, to guarantee exclusivity on the property for 1 month. The deposit contract contained certain protective clauses, stating that I would receive the deposit back in full if the property was found to have defective legal title, or contained any issues which would affect the material value of the property.
When both of these issues were uncovered - the property had been extended upon and comprehensively converted without freeholder permission, and was also being sold by leasees, not by the freeholder - I pulled out on my lawyers advice, and expected Greene to swiftly return the deposit. I had already lost out on mortage broker fees, surveyor fees and legal fees, so did not expect a fight to claim back the reservation deposit, as there were clear-cut legal title issues. However, I had to go through a bitter wrangle lasting two months with them to get the money back. Finally, after repeated threats, they begrudgingly returned the deposit without an apology.
Although I lost out on various fees, this was only a minor irritation; the main problem for me is that Greene will continue to market this dodgy property to other prospective buyers, and probably push other buyers to pay reservation deposits on this property - knowing full well that these buyers will be placed in a similarly difficult situation once the legal problems are uncovered by their solicitors. It puts the buyer in a difficult position - going ahead with a risky property with legal problems, or losing out on legal fees and potentially a reservation deposit which Greene will fight tooth and nail to retain.
In sum, BE VERY WARY OF PAYING A RESERVATION DEPOSIT TO GREENE & CO - EVEN IF THEIR FORM DOES CONTAIN SEEMINGLY PROTECTIVE CLAUSES FOR THE BUYER!
What agent could do to change your mind?
The agent should not have put up a fight in returning the reservation deposit, when clear defective legal title problems and other legal issues emerged, that undoubtedly affected the material value of the property.
They should not also push prospective buyers into placing reservation deposits when they are fully aware that these serious legal issues may well put buyers off from completing the transaction when they come to light.
Frankly I expected more integrity and honesty from them, but perhaps I was naive to do so.